The famous Hanging Coffins located high on the cliffs in Echo Valley are a popular day trip from Sagada. Some of these coffins are hundreds of years old and made from carved and hollowed out pine trees. The practice is still in use today, although the coffins are now constructed from planks. The Echo Valley lookout nearby the town provides great views of the coffins and surrounding rice paddies. To get there walk past the St Mary’s church, through the cemetery and from there a mud trail will lead you to the viewpoint. Scream hard at this point and you know why it’s named Echo Valley. From the lookout numerous trails are leading down through the Echo valley. Recommended to hire a guide as it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of trails.
Lumiang Burial Cave
A short walk south of town is the Lumiang burial cave, where tens of coffins are piled up at the entrance, some of them dating back over 500 years. The Sumaging and Lumian caves are connected by a long and narrow passage. The trip between the caves is not for the faint hearted and takes 2-3 hours in total darkness. Ropes are being used to negotiate some steep passages and you will have to wade through several pools. A guide is essential for this trip and can be booked at the tourist information center for 800 php. He will bring a bright gas lantern, but it’s recommended to also bring your own torch.
A 45-minutes' walk from Sagada is the Sumaguing cave. A steep stone step leads down into the cave. The rocks in the first part of the cave are covered with bat droppings which are spreading a pungent odor and making things really slippery. After a few hundred meters this makes place for large boulders covered with calcite deposits caused by the water running over them. Best to walk barefoot here, as this give you the most grip. With a bit of imagination you can see all kind of objects in the gigantic rocks. Several pools filled with ice cold water complement the whole cave experience. The daring one could continue deeper in the cave and exit at the burial cave. (See above) The whole trip takes about 1,5 hours and should be undertaken by a guide which will provide a torch.
This small private museum showcases several Kankayan artifacts, such as baskets, pottery, weavings and sculptures. Ganduyan was the original name of Sagada used by the Kankanays. who are together with 5 other tribes referred to as Igorots, people of the Cordillera region. Local owner Christina Aben has a wealth of information about the region and is happy to share it with you. Open daily from 9am to 5pm. Entrance fee is 25php.
From Sagada you can make half day trips to the Bokong Falls (Small falls) and Bomod-ok falls (Big falls). The Bokong falls are located, a 40 minutes walk east of Sagada. A few hundred meters after the Sagada Weaving take the steps to the left and follow the trail through the rice paddies. The falls are not really impressive, but the deep, cool pool at the bottom is a good place for a dip.
Bigger and Better is the Bomod-ok fall. To get there take a jeepney to basketball court in Banga-an and from there a series of concrete steps are leading down into the valley. After passing through three small villages - in the last village there is 10 php toll fee for maintenance of the steps - you have to navigate through the rice paddies to the waterfalls. The scenery of the rice terraces is breathtaking. Be there in the early morning to take the best pictures and avoid some of the scorching sun rays. Recommended to take a guide on this trip, as it is hard to find your way through the paddies (600php / group).
East of Sagada is the 1600 meter high Mt Kiltepan. A viewpoint on the top is providing breathtaking views of the rice terraces and surrounding mountains. It’s a gentle 45 minutes' walk or 20 minutes jeepney ride from town. Try to get there before daybreak to watch the sunrise.